Father Jenkins in quarantine following White House visit

Notre Dame's Father John I Jenkins will self-quarantine after visiting the White House for the Amy Coney Barrett announcement on Saturday.

Video of the event showed Jenkins at the event shaking hands with others. He also was not wearing a mask.

He released this letter to members of the university community.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I know many of you have read about the White House ceremony I recently attended. I write to express my regret for certain choices I made that day and for failing to lead as I should have.

Last Saturday morning I received, on very short notice, an invitation to attend the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court. It was important, I believed, that I represent the University at this historic event to support a faculty colleague and alumna of Notre Dame who is greatly respected by academic and judicial peers, revered by her students and cherished by her friends.

When I arrived at the White House, a medical professional took me to an exam room to obtain a nasal swab for a rapid COVID-19 test. I was then directed to a room with others, all fully masked, until we were notified that we had all tested negative and were told that it was safe to remove our masks. We were then escorted to the Rose Garden, where I was seated with others who also had just been tested and received negative results.

I regret my error of judgment in not wearing a mask during the ceremony and by shaking hands with a number of people in the Rose Garden. I failed to lead by example, at a time when I’ve asked everyone else in the Notre Dame community to do so. I especially regret my mistake in light of the sacrifices made on a daily basis by many, particularly our students, in adjusting their lives to observe our health protocols.

After returning to campus, I consulted the Notre Dame Wellness Center and was advised to monitor carefully and report any COVID-19 symptoms. In an abundance of caution, I have decided also to quarantine in accordance with University protocols.

Thank you for your continued efforts during this semester, and for your understanding.

In Notre Dame,

Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C.

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